Metro Weekly

Hot Picks of the Week: A forgotten Golden Girls sequel, Signature’s tribute to Sondheim, and more!

The Home + Remodeling Show swings through D.C., Victory Hall Opera serves Fat Pig, and a brilliant Hedwig streams in this week's picks.

the golden palace
The Golden Palace

THE GOLDEN PALACE ON HULU

Every queer person of a certain age has at least one friend obsessed with The Golden Girls, to the point they can recite dialogue from any number of episodes verbatim. Bet they can’t do the same when it comes to The Golden Palace. Thirty years ago, after Bea Arthur left the Girls, CBS greenlit a sequel to the hit NBC sitcom from creator Susan Harris, and proceeded to give the lackluster show a full season run of 24 episodes before putting it out to pasture. In fact, only the most golden of the Golden fanatics have managed to see any episodes from the short-lived sequel since it originally aired — principally, those who caught the Golden Girls marathons that Lifetime would periodically air, with the cable channel occasionally throwing in The Golden Palace as a de-facto eighth season of the original.

In 2017, The Golden Girls was added to Hulu. And this week, the popular streaming platform added The Golden Palace as a tribute to Betty White, who passed away a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. White, who played Rose, was the last surviving Golden Girl having lived more than a decade longer than Rue McClanahan (Blanche), Estelle Getty (Sophia), and Arthur (Dorothy).

The sequel transports Rose, Blanche, and Sophia to a South Beach hotel that they run alongside Don Cheadle and Cheech Marin in supporting roles as hotel staff. Arthur returned for a two-episode stint and the show featured a rotating cast of notable guest stars, including Bobcat Goldthwait, Margaret Cho, Kim Fields, Carol Leifer, Barry Bostwick, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Ja’Net DuBois, Joely Fisher, Ricardo Montalbán, and George Burns. Visit www.hulu.com.

THE HOME + REMODELING SHOW

Next weekend sees the area’s first home show in two years with the return of this January exhibition produced by Marketplace Events. Held at the Dulles Expo Center, the Home + Remodeling Show is intended to help inspire area homeowners to breathe new life into their old kitchens, baths, makeshift home offices, and other spaces, by drawing inspiration and consultation from more than 150 corporate vendors showcasing the latest products and services in home remodeling, renovation, décor, and redesign.

This year’s headliner is designer Christine “Bugsy” Drake, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Theme” known from her work as a stewardess on Bravo’s Below Deck Mediterranean, where she’s created signature elaborate tablescapes and over-the-top theme parties aboard the show’s luxury yachts. Drake is also the author of The Art of Tablescaping, featuring how-to advice and tips on creating your own show-stopping table settings and luxury “dining adventures.” In addition to designing a featured tablescape on display throughout the show, Drake will give stage presentations on Friday, Jan. 21, at 5 p.m., and Saturday, Jan. 22, at noon.

Local home remodeling and renovation experts will also lead seminars sharing tips and taking questions on various remodeling topics throughout the three-day event. As a sampling of the diversity on offer, the 2022 Exhibitor List includes Appliance Distributors Unlimited, Bamboo Sheets, Better Garden Tools, Decorative Glass Solutions, Ed Ball Landscape Architecture, Good Health Saunas, Grout Scout, JES Foundation Repair, Phantom Retractable Screens, Scentsy, ShelfGenie of Metro DC, Sleep Pro, and T.L.G. Tile.

Friday, Jan. 21, and Saturday, Jan. 22, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Virginia. Tickets are $9 to $12 per day, or free on Friday, Jan. 21, for all military, first responders, and healthcare workers (and half-price that day for their friends and family members) as well as those who travel by Metro using SmarTrip or Transit Link cards, and free on Sunday, Jan. 23, for federal employees. Visit www.homeandremodelingshow.com.

Everybody Rise: Sondheim Tribute: Holly Twyford and Bobby Smith — Photo: Christopher Mueller

EVERYBODY RISE: SONDHEIM TRIBUTE CONCERT

A month ago, Signature Theatre held a live concert featuring favorite songs by artists who have starred in the various Stephen Sondheim musicals that the company has produced over the decades, one per season, since its founding. This weekend, the company offers a free, 72-hour streaming period for Everybody Rise: Signature Remembers Stephen Sondheim. Directed and conceived by Signature’s new Artistic Director Matthew Gardiner, the show was filmed by Chiet Productions and features Jon Kalbfleisch, who has served as music director and pianist for all 31 of the company’s productions of Sondheim shows.

Performers include Bobby Smith, Nova Y. Payton, Holly Twyford, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Natascia Diaz, Erin Driscoll, Evan Casey, James Gardiner, Christopher Mueller, and Maria Rizzo. Selections range from Sondheim classics to lesser-known standouts and include “Marry Me a Little,” “What More Do I Need,” “Our Time,” “Sooner or Later,” “Not a Day Goes By,” “Children Will Listen” and “Send in the Clowns.” Streaming, presented with English captions, begins Friday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m., and ends Monday, Jan. 17, at 5 p.m. Visit www.sigtheatre.org.

Victory Hall Opera Fat Pig: Tracy Cox — Photo: Caitlin Ruby Miller

FAT PIG

Touted as “the future of the field” by the Washington Post, Victory Hall Opera is a pioneering Charlottesville-based company that functions as a troupe of singers working in collaboration to develop operatic works in a style akin to what is called physical or devised theater. Currently, they’re gearing up to go where no opera company has gone before: presenting the story of a plus-sized woman in love and the burdens of our appearance-obsessed, fatphobic culture.

An operatic adaptation of provocative playwright Neil LaBute’s award-winning black comedy from 2004, Fat Pig is ultimately a tragedy focused on star-crossed lovers Helen, a charmingly confident yet overweight woman, and Tom, a socially desirable yet compliant man. With music by rising gay composer Matt Boehler and a libretto and direction by Artistic Director Miriam Gordon-Stewart, the world-premiere chamber opera stars soprano Tracy Cox (of the YouTube series Angry Fat People) as Helen and baritone Troy Cook as Tom, with soprano Sarah Wolfson and tenor Will Ferguson in supporting roles.

Two performances only: Saturday, Jan. 22, and Thursday, Jan. 27, at 8 p.m. at the V. Earl Dickinson Theater, 501 College Dr., Charlottesville. Tickets are $15 to $35. Call 434-227-9978 or visit www.victoryhallopera.org.

One week prior to the first performance — on Friday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m — LaBute will appear for a rare interview in conversation with Gordon-Stewart on Facebook Live, which will be uploaded for later viewing to the @VHOChannel on YouTube.

And Hold Me: Sergio Guerra Abril and Dylan Lambert — Photo: Elsa Rinde

BRITTA JOY PETERSON: AND NOW, HOLD ME

A thought-provoking new duet from Britta Joy Peterson is planned as the first performances of the new year at Dance Place. And Now, Hold Me is the last in a trilogy of full-length duets from the choreographer, a Dance Place Artist-in-Residence, all grappling with relational notions that distinguish one’s self from others as well as the spaces found between.

Peterson started this relational series with Tired hearts kick darkness and bleed light, a 2016 piece highlighting the ties that bind in relationships, be they between siblings or romantic partners. In 2018, she debuted Vinegar Spirit, an examination of one’s sense of self, from self-discovery to self-presentation.

The new, final dance pivots around the concept of “holding space,” of being both self-aware and rather selfless when engaging with others, or of communicating more fully with self and without judgment of others. Sergio Guerra Abril and Dylan Lambert collaborate in what is described as an “unflinchingly tender and unfailingly tenacious duet” featuring spoken and sung text as well as original music by Evan Anderson and Liam Bellman-Sharpe, mixed with selections ranging from Franz Liszt to Huey Lewis & The News.

Saturday, Jan. 22, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. 3225 8th St. NE. Tickets are offered in pay-what-you-can options up to $100. Call 202-269-1600 or visit www.danceplace.org.

Above & Beyond’s Cercle selects– Photo: Raul Aragao

ABOVE & BEYOND’S CERCLE CONCERT FROM THE ANDES

You can admire some of the world’s greatest natural and cultural landmarks while taking in music from some of the world’s most lauded electronic/dance DJs and producers through the pioneering, original work of Cercle. The French media outfit began honing their craft of capturing top-notch aerial and drone footage from heritage sites including the Eiffel Tower prior to 2020, but demand and popularity for their work has only increased exponentially since the pandemic.

Last month, Cercle worked with official travel and cultural entities in Colombia to capture their first show in the South American country, a concert set on top of the inselberg known as Piedra del Peñol in Guatape in the Andes Mountains and featuring the lushly melodic electronic dance music of the London-based Above & Beyond. A few hundred fans joined the group atop the Colombian national monument which rises 787 feet high and is only accessible by climbing 740 stairs built into the granite monolith’s crevice.

The reward is a stunning, fairytale-like view, all the more so as captured by Cercle’s drones drifting high above the picturesque lakeside valley and roaming all around the landmark, with a soundtrack to match: an hour-long set of mostly original songs spun by the group’s Tony McGuinness and Paavo Siljamäki. Visit www.cercle.io.

COMING UP AT GMU CENTER FOR THE ARTS

Next month, the Center for the Arts at George Mason University plans to welcome back two of the most preeminent companies in all of modern dance — Pilobolus performing “Big Five-Oh!,” a special 50th-anniversary program from the Connecticut-based collaborative choreography company (2/20), and the Mark Morris Dance Group and Music Ensemble offering an exuberant evening of dance as part of a near-annual engagement from the company led by its gay namesake, considered by many to be the country’s greatest living contemporary choreographer (2/26). February is also scheduled to usher in the Virginia Opera premiere of Three Decembers by Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer and based on an unpublished play by the late, gay Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally (2/5-6).

Those are just three highlights among more than a dozen events on the books for this winter at Mason’s Fairfax campus. Other notable planned events include:

“Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel,” in which the virtuoso pianist will talk about as well as perform jaunty and stormy compositions by Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Swedish composer Stenhammar (1/23).

The U.K.’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with a 75th-anniversary program showcasing a trio of 20th century gems by Britten, Elgar, and Rachmaninoff (1/29).

The Fairfax Symphony Orchestra in a program of Dvorák, Hailstork, Rouse, and the U.S. premiere of “Bruromano” by Czech composer Sylvie Bodorová featuring classical guitarist Jason Vieaux and bassist Aaron Clay (2/19).

Popovich Comedy Pet Theater, a Vegas-popular show featuring human juggling feats and circus tricks performed by a motley crew of furry and feathered rescue animals (2/19).

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, performing a signature uplifting concert showcasing traditional South African vocal styles (2/27).

The Concert Hall at the GMU Center for the Arts is at 4373 Mason Pond Drive, Fairfax, Va. Ticket prices vary. Call 888-945-2468 or visit www.cfa.gmu.edu.

Hedwig — Photo: Warner Bros. Ent. Inc

HEDWIG & THE ANGRY INCH

Olney Theatre gave “Hedheads” and all those who managed to catch Mason Alexander Park’s electrifying and uproarious performance in its production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch quite the holiday treat to close out 2021. Now, the LGBTQ+ streaming platform Revry offers an early Valentine’s to Hedheads far and wide with on-demand streaming of John Cameron Mitchell’s film adaptation of the original Off-Broadway show, to mark its 20th anniversary. Over the years, this wildly imaginative musical comedy-drama from Mitchell and composer Stephen Trask has been an occasional hit on the “midnight movie” circuit. And it earned a place in Metro Weekly‘s 2011 list of “25 Gay Films Everyone Should See: The Sequel” chiefly on account of its ahead-of-its-time story, which subtly, slyly captures the ongoing struggle for recognition of the transgender community in mainstream society.

As the transgender- and nonbinary-identified Park put it in an interview with Metro Weekly last month, “[Hedwig] was the first time that I had ever really seen a character on stage, or on screen, that reflected the complicated nature of my own gender identity, and who was fighting against certain social constructs, especially the binary.” Hedwig and the Angry Inch streams until Jan. 31 for free, with commercial interruptions, on Revry. Visit www.revry.tv.

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WHITE NOISE

From prolific writer Suzan-Lori Parks comes White Noise, a play focused on four longtime friends and sometime lovers prompted by a violent police encounter to embark on a radical social experiment — uncovering secrets, revealing simmering tensions, and testing relationships along the way, in a work billed as an incendiary exploration of race, identity, and legacy. Revisiting the drama five years after she originally created it, Parks made changes, including moving the setting of a pivotal scene from a bowling alley to a shooting range.

“The play was full of rage in 2016, and now it’s angrier…and yet, it’s more compassionate. Everyone is pushed in the play. To take a good look at their shit and figure out a way to work through it,” Parks said before the play’s 2021 London premiere. The revamped work now readies its D.C. premiere at Studio Theatre, a longtime champion of Parks — whose acclaimed repertoire ranges from the 2002 Pulitzer-winning play Topdog/Underdog, to the 2012 Tony-winning adaptation of The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and 2021’s The United States vs. Billie Holiday and National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, both available on Hulu.

Studio’s Associate Artistic Director Reginald L. Douglas directs a production featuring RJ Brown, Katie Kleiger, Tatiana Williams, and Quinn Franzen. Previews begin Tuesday, Jan. 12. Runs to Feb. 20. Milton Theatre, 1501 14th St. NW. Tickets are $65 to $95, with discounts available. Call 202-332-3300 or visit www.studiotheatre.org.

Maudit 2.0: Jean Cocteau with Ricki Soma and Leo Coleman, New York City, 1949 — Photo: Philippe Halsman

FILM MAUDIT 2.0

Launched in 2020 by the L.A. nonprofit cultural center Highways Performance Space & Gallery, this film festival is named after and inspired by a one-time-only festival that gay, influential avant-garde filmmaker Jean Cocteau organized over 70 years ago in France to celebrate overlooked, shocking, and experimental works of cinema — or “cursed films,” as the French phrase literally means.

This year’s third edition expands to include both physical and virtual events, with online screenings of 12 feature films and 10 shorts programs, plus the yearly “Behold! Queer Film + Performance Series.” Included in the latter are:

“Transgressive Desire,” a program of five shorts from queer women, trans, nonbinary, and intersex filmmakers/performance artists turning the lens on their vulnerable and powerful bodies.

“Queer(ing) Time,” an array of short and feature-length films mostly from California-based queer and trans filmmakers and artists of color, each offering a distinct vision of the past and/or the future.

The Dope Elf Films, six shorts by the Gawdafful National Theater made during the pandemic and shot largely by the actors themselves in their homes.

“Encountering ConstruX,” an eclectic assortment of films, including three short videos focused on bondage photographer Rick Castro’s former fetish art gallery Antebellum Hollywood, a film from world artist Gio Black Peter offering a day in the hedonistic life of those affilaited with the “Swine Burger fortune,” and a short movement-based work exploring queer love, pleasure, and safety in times of pain by Taso Papadakis and Kevin Williamson.

Lawrence Elbert’s Days of Pentecost, a 1995 feature-length Black and Latino drag musical action/adventure inspired by Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! with a cast including Mario Gardner, Alexis Arquette, TZa-Tanisha, and Keith Antar-Mason.

Streaming lasts through Jan. 23. Tickets, allowing viewing over a 48-hour period, are $5 a program, or $65 for an all-access pass. Visit www.filmmaudit.org.

A Portrait of Harlem
A Portrait of Harlem

A PORTRAIT OF HARLEM

Now through May, the National Gallery of Art provides a glimpse into Harlem’s rich social life and influential cultural scene as it existed nearly a century ago during the Harlem Renaissance. Curated by Diane Waggoner, the exhibition features 40 works from the museum’s collection created by photographer James Van Der Zee, including snapshots of popular nightclubs and storefronts as well as portraits of notable figures and community groups taken in the 1920s and 1930s in the majority Black neighborhood in New York City.

Chiefly hired to capture portraits marking special occasions, Van Der Zee’s carefully composed, cosmopolitan photographs conveyed his subject’s personalities, aspirations, and spirit, including a sense of pride as Black Americans who achieved success despite all the systemic injustice they faced. Van Der Zee, who died at the age of 96 in 1983, is credited with producing the most comprehensive documentation of the period. On view through May 30. The National Gallery of Art is at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. Call 202-737-4215 or visit www.nga.gov.

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